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Over 2 million rallied in early days of the revolution without a single photo of Imam Khomeini

February 23, 2020 - 14:47

With Michel Setboun [architecture and became a photographer in 1978] from Tehran’s Jaleh Square and Nofel Loshato [Neauphle-le-Château,] and Alavi School and Order of Imam Khomeini (RA) and Baton Strikes in Islamic Revolution 1978 and Unveiling the Book entitled “Days of Revolution” in Kish Island

Michel Setboun was a guest for a few days in Kish Island. While attending the celebration of signing ceremony of the second volume of the Book entitled “Days of the Revolution” and receiving the honorary badge citizenship in Kish at the direct order of the Chief Executive of Kish Free Zone Organization (KFZO), he expounded on his experiences in front of reporters, photographers and enthusiasts in Photography and said, “I started ‘Photography’ in Iran in 1978 i.e. one year before the Islamic Revolution and no one was thinking of this issue that the powerful regime of Shah to be toppled.

He continued, “in that time, my friends in Iran called me idiot due my presence in Iran and recommended me to focus more on photograpgy, nor covering he demonstration in Iran.”

In most magazines and newspapers, there was a photo of Shah of Iran and his life.

He added, “in Sept. 1978 and events happened in REX Cinema in Abadan and demonstration after it, more than two million people, who had not seen even a picture of Imam Khomeini, were chanting slogan in his favor.”

He said, “I took photograph of Tehran’s Jaleh Square in Sept. 1978 and then, I went to the residence of Imam Khomeini (Ra) at the invitation of Bani Sadr. After two days of stay in the residence of Bani Sadr and being advised not to take photo, I along with a group of Iranian youth went to visit Imam Khomeini and has seen him in a small garden.”

He emphasized that visiting Imam Khomieni was the dream of many and added, “I met him in a very simple environment, the thing that was different as compared with today!”

As a young journalist, I was introduced to Imam Khomeini (RA) and was encouraged to take photo of Iran.

He continued, “victory was the only issue that was spoken.”

He added, “score of people, after hearing the presence of Imam Khomeini, rushed to his residence in order to visit him [Imam Khomeini].”

In Iran, people showed vehement interest to buy his photos and pictures at a high price, because, no one had a picture of him.

After that, the photos and pictures that had been taken were printed and reproduced rapidly, he said, adding, “all these pictures were used in rallies and demonstrations and were sold at place such as Behasht-e Zahra (cemetery).”

Setboun amazed and wondered people’s passion to visit Imam Khomeini. He said, “On Jan., 16 and concurrent with the expulsion of shah of Iran from the country, Bakhtiar announced that Imam Khomeini can return to the hometown.”

This French journalist added, “after Imam Khomeini was invited to Iran, I was also informed to go to Nofel Loshato [Neauphle-le-Château and be with him [Imam Khomeini] at the plane.”

Scores of people were on the street who had convened and gathered for performing prayers at the time when Imam Khomeini [RA] were going to perform prayers.

He emphasized, “this flight was unsafe and insecure in the beginning but the security of the flight was provided after presence of reporters and increased number of people. Reporters had written their names on the papers and had hanged them on the branches of trees, saying that “we would return to the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

In this plane, all those who were accompanying Imam Khomeini has heard that plane carrying Imam may have been attacked and shot but their number was hit 80.

He continued, “in a press conference that had been held in France, and even at the airport, dangerous situation was emphasized continually but these number of people were accompanying Imam happily and joyfully.”

Although insecurity in the plane carrying Imam Khomeini was spoken, almost all reporters and people around him were accompanying Imam Khomeini happily.”

Michal Setboun was speaking of the crowd, bustle and congestion of people who were waiting vehemently for the arrival of Imam Khomeini (RA) to Tehran.”

He said that Imam Khomeini (RA) was transferred to Alavi School with helicopter.

Before taking photograph, Michal Setboun was busy active in “Architecture”. He [Setboun] considers Islamic Revolution in Iran as a chance and opportunity for becoming famous, adding, “I continued the career of Photography in many countries after these forty years.”

Michal Setboun has published his first collection of his photos taken from the Islamic Revolution in late 1979.

In that time, Iranian photographers had not standing in the international arena but after the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution, conditions changed and many Iranian photographers attained successes in international area.

He renamed two persons “Reza Deghati” and “Kaveh Golestan” who started their career in “Photography” professionally.

Setboun put all his works after the Islamic Revolution at 28,000. He said, “these pictures and photos have been published in three books up to the end of 2000. One of these books has been submitted with special graphic design with the satirical content.”

Setboun has left Iran in 1980, because, there was no need to the presence of foreign photographer with the progress of “Photography” in the country.”

Setboun, who was in Kish Island for the first time, added, “these images are no longer considered as journalistic photos and they have been turned into “memory” and “nostalgia” due to the existence of Iranians.”

He added, “there are many unpublished pictures that were not released due to the rising printing cost and lack of photography in that time.”

Setboun pointed to the archive of his photos since the Islamic Revolution and scanning some of them, adding, “in France, there is not any willingness for printing and publishing these works.”

A great number of these works have been published and released in three volumes of books inside Iran. the first cope has been published three years ago while a copy has recently been published at the order and sponsorship of Kish Free Zone Organization (KFZO).

Setboun was napped and arrested by security officials of regime fo shah and was welcomed. He said, “during these years, I was appreciated and hailed in other countries but I was not appreciated in Iran.”

Michal Setboun, who has resorted to study graphics and has reached from realism t satirical (ironical art), emphasized, “with forty years of Photography experience from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan to El Salvador, I say that all things have changed. Technology, photography and such change has caused the era of journalism and photography to fall into oblivion.”

The rising generation does not pay due attention to the issue of revolution in images, rather, they only pay due attention to its graphical aspect.

He reiterated, “despite significance of the subject of revolution in these images, youth and young people do not have any tendency to these cases and rising generation only pays attention to graphical and artistic attractions  of photos.”

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